Common Disaster-Related Rumors

There often are many rumors and scams after a disaster. Do your part to the stop the spread of rumors by doing three easy things: 

  1. Find trusted sources of information. 
  2. Share information from trusted sources. 
  3. Discourage others from sharing information from unverified sources. 
Hawaii rumor control

Recent Disasters

If you're looking for information related to the recent Hawaii wildfires (DR-4724-HI), get the facts and answers to frequently asked questions specific to the disaster in Hawaii.


Use the dropdown menu to filter by the type of question or type in a keyword.


This is not true. FEMA funding is available to assist all eligible survivors who have suffered losses because of disasters.


This is not true. FEMA assistance is not taxable and will not affect your eligibility for Social Security, Medicaid or other federal benefits.


FEMA may be able to provide reimbursement for out-of-pocket lodging expenses that are not covered by insurance benefits. A resident’s pre-disaster primary residence must be unlivable or inaccessible to be considered.

Keep copies of your receipts so you can file them along with your disaster assistance application.


This is not true. FEMA may provide financial assistance to eligible U.S. citizens, non-citizen nationals and qualified aliens.

When available, life sustaining resources such as shelter, food and water, crisis counseling, disaster case management, disaster supplemental nutrition assistance program and disaster legal services are available to disaster survivors regardless of citizenship and immigration status.

To learn more, visit our Citizenship and Immigration Status Requirements for Federal Public Benefits page.


This is not true. Just five inches of water can cause over $25,000 worth of damage.

Visit the National Flood Insurance Program page for more information.


This is not true. Eligible expenses may include the cost of the room and taxes charged by a hotel or other lodging provider. This does not include costs for food, phone calls, transportation or other miscellaneous expenses.


You don't need to own a business to request a disaster loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

SBA provides low-interest disaster loans to qualified homeowners, renters, and businesses of all sizes.

You can use SBA disaster loans for the following:

  • Home repair or replacement
  • Mitigation
  • Personal property
  • Business losses
  • Vehicle repair or replacement
  • Working capital for small business and most private nonprofits

SBA disaster assistance loans must be paid back.

In addition, FEMA works with the SBA to determine if you should get money for personal property or transportation assistance from FEMA or the SBA. FEMA is not allowed to provide money for these losses to people who may qualify for an SBA loan.

FEMA will automatically refer you to the SBA to be considered for a disaster loan if you meet SBA’s income standards. FEMA will use your household annual gross income and number of dependents to determine if it will refer you to the SBA.

You don’t have to accept an SBA loan offer; however, if you are approved and you do not accept it, you will not be referred back to FEMA for personal property or transportation assistance. You can call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 if you have additional questions or need more information.  


It depends. FEMA may reimburse the purchase if you lost power and the generator was needed to power a medically required piece of equipment, including a refrigerator for required medicines, such as insulin. To qualify, you must submit documentation from a medical services provider stating the equipment is medically required.  

In rare instances, the requirement for a medical-need for the generator may be waived, allowing reimbursement for eligible individuals and households who lost power due to the disaster.

Be sure to check for disaster-specific guidance, including:

  1. If reimbursement for a generator is being offered for the disaster.
  2. If you qualify for this assistance.
  3. The date range in which you can purchase a generator and receive reimbursement.


This is not true. FEMA will never ask you to pay to apply for assistance or receive an inspection. 

If you have knowledge of fraud, waste or abuse you can report it anonymously by calling the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721. You can also email

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